As of 2010 Lowe’s Motor Speedway became Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Stock car racing is extremely popular in South Concord, North Carolina. Designed and built in 1959 by O. Bruton Smith and the late Curtis Turner, Charlotte Motor Speedway (previously Lowe’s Motor Speedway) remains one of the premier racing locations in the United States.
Smith and Turner, together they built their dream of a 1.5-mile super-speedway on the outskirts of The Queen City and, on June 19, 1960, the first World 600 was run at this new facility. It took nearly 25 years for Lowe’s Motor Speedway to come of age. The Smith Tower – a 135,000-square-foot, seven-story facility connected to the speedway’s grandstands – was erected and opened in 1988. The building houses the speedway’s corporate offices, ticket office, souvenir gift shop, leased office space and The Speedway Club, an exclusive dining and entertainment facility.
Another innovation was a $1.7 million, 1,200-fixture permanent lighting system developed by MUSCO Lighting of Oskaloosa, Iowa. The revolutionary lighting process uses mirrors to simulate daylight without glare, shadows, or obtrusive light poles. The lighting system was installed in 1992, allowing Lowe’s Motor Speedway to be the first modern super-speedway to host night auto racing.
In addition to the 1.5-mile quad oval, the Charlotte Motor Speedway complex includes a 2.25-mile road course and a six-tenths-mile karting layout in the speedway’s infield; a quarter-mile asphalt oval utilizing part of the speedway’s front-stretch and pit road; and a one-fifth-mile oval located outside turn three of the super-speedway.
With those kinds of track conditions, it’s no wonder the schedule of racing events at Charlotte Motor Speedway reads like a Who’s Who of NASCAR: The NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series events, two NASCAR Busch Series races and a NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series event are among the major events held on the 1.5-mile super-speedway. The Richard Petty Driving Experience and the Fast Track High Performance Driving School also use the track extensively throughout the year.
Most recently, the track added a new garage area for the NASCAR Busch Series, a new state-of-the-art media facility and additional restrooms and showers for use by those enjoying the action from the speedway’s infield. These additions are all part of a long-term project calling for additional grandstand seating, infrastructure improvements, spectator amenities and the development of adjacent land for possible commercial real estate ventures.
Charlotte Motor Speedway: tradition only takes you so far. After that, it’s a matter of speed and innovation. Oh, and a seating capacity of nearly 170,000 doesn’t hurt either.
Concord Motorsport Park: it’s about the need for speed. In fact, Concord Motorsport Park is one of the fastest short tracks in the country. The USAR Hooters Pro Cup holds one of its most exciting events there each year. Fans from all over the Eastern Seaboard come to Concord Motorsport Park for the North-South Shootout Modified event every fall. Founded in 1982 – Concord is considered the new kid in town (compared to, for example, Lowes Motorsport Park which was opened in 1959 – now known as Charlotte Motor Speedway) – starting out as a 4/10th mile “outlaw” dirt oval. The track was paved in 1987 and came under NASCAR sanction the following year. Subsequent to the original construction, the original owner built a 1/4 mile dirt oval next to the original expanded oval, and then extended the original track to 1/2 mile.
Concord Motorsport Park is a complex of three oval tracks located near Concord, North Carolina. The three tracks are a 1/2 mile paved tri-oval, a 1/4 mile paved oval, and a 1/5 mile paved oval. The 1/2 mile track is banked, the banking ranging from 8 degrees at start-finish to 14 degrees in turns 1 and 3. The 1/4 and 1/5 mile ovals are nested one within the other, while the 1/5 mile version is used intermittently. The 1/4 mile track is used for karts as well as other auto racing events.
Concord Speedway hosts a number of exciting racing series, including the annual USARacing Series and the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series. The track is also a popular venue for filming TV commercials, music videos and TV shows.
It’s no secret that Concord Motorsport Park is pretty high banked. There’s really no room for mistakes there. A driver can run within a hairs-breadth of the wall by his own accord or he can be forced to the edge by the onslaught of other traffic. Either way it’s high adrenalin at every turn.
The 1 200 acre Las Vegas Motor Speedway complex is situated along Las Vegas Boulevard North, and is home to four racing tracks. Speedway Motorsports Inc. are the owners of the entire complex, and have their head offices in North Carolina.
Several racing teams are based here and since 2005 the track opens twice a week for local drag racing. It provides a safe environment for drag racers and assists the authorities by discouraging drag racing in the streets. The Las Vegas Motor Speedway also hosts the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department during their driving training courses. The Las Vegas Speedway has a 600 meter paved oval that is called The Bullring; a clay oval 800 meter Dirt Track; the 1/4 mile drag strip that is known as The Strip; and the D-shaped oval Superspeedway that is 2.41 kilometers in length.
Plans to reconfigure the Las Vegas Motor Speedway track was announced in 2006. This would include “progressive banking”. Banking means the angle that you are driving at on the track. To increase this means that drivers will be able to drive higher up on the track, and can drive side by side. Also included in the new construction was a new pit road and a fan zone. The new Las Vegas Motor Speedway track was opened on 8 August 2006, and stock cars were first on the track, together with Kurt Busch. Busch is a NEXTEL Cup Champion and is always seen behind the wheel of the #2 Miller Lite Penske Dodge Charger. He was the very first NASCAR Nextel Cup Driver to test a stock car on the new reconfigured and reopened Las Vegas Motor Speedway track.
Just like any other speedway, the Las Vegas Motor Speedway has also received some nicknames. Most of the Nextel Cup Series races that have been held at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway were won by drivers behind the wheel of a Ford. It was therefore often called “The Blue Oval”. The only drivers who have won here and not been driving a Ford, are Sterling Marlin, Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon. Roush has also seen many successes here at the Las Vegas Speedway track, with drivers such as Jeff Burton, Matt Kenseth and Mark Martin. Thus, the track was known to many as “The House of Roush”. For a few years, the Winston No Bull 5 Million Dollar Bonus was held at the Las Vegas Speedway. This race would award one million dollars to the race winner and was won twice by Jeff Burton, while Jeff Gordon walked away with the prize money in the 2001 race.
Based in Charlotte, North Carolina, Robby Gordon Motorsports is owned by NASCAR racing driver Robby Gordon, fielding his #7 Monster Energy Drink/Polaris/Warner Music Nashville/Menards Toyota Camry. The team enjoys the support of millionaire entrepreneur, John R. Menard Jr., who helped Gordon finance the purchase of Ultra Motorsports from Jim Smith in 2005. In October 2006, RGM signed with Ford Racing to run the Ford Fusion for the 2007 season. Sponsors of the car included Jim Beam, Camping World, Monster Energy Drink and Mapei.
2008 was marked with conflict for RGM, involving penalties for a switch to the Dodge Charger in the preseason testing for the 2008 Daytona 500, a decision which was later reversed, putting the #7 Dodge at 21 in the Sprint Cup Standings. Later that same year GEM and RGM became involved in a lawsuit relating to a potential merger. The lawsuit was dropped, and Gordon switched from GEM to Penske Racing engines.
RGM switched manufacturers once again in 2009, fielding Toyota Camrys for the entire season. Continuing to field Camrys, in 2010 RGM aligned with BAM Racing and garnered extended sponsorship from Monster Energy Drink. BAM Racing’s sponsor, Warner Music Nashville, will sponsor the #7 Camry driven by Robby Gordon, starting with the California event and including events at Atlanta and Bristol. Current sponsors for RGM include Monster Energy Drink, Menards, Polaris and Warner Music Nashville.
The NASCAR element of the Chip Ganassi Racing team merged with Dale Earnhardt Inc to form Earnhardt Ganassi Racing.
Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates is an organization that supports several racing teams involved in NASCAR and IRL races. The association is co-owned by Chip Ganassi and Felix Sabates – both of whom are businessmen. Chip was a successful driver in his younger years and he made the decision to create a one-car IndyCar team in 1990. As a team owner Ganassi enjoyed immense success. In his first four years his team took five championship titles and 46 wins – the start to a long and successful period of racing. He made the decision to partner with Felix Sabates in 2000.
Sebates was never really a racer and he instead made his way into the world of stock car racing as an owner in 1987. This was easy since Sabates was a self-made millionaire from Cuba. He called his original team SABCO Racing and it was this team that Ganassi decided to purchase 80% of as he made his way into the ownership side of NASCAR racing. The Chip Ganassi Racing team is based in Concord, North Carolina. The teams currently race in the IndyCar Series and Rolex Sports Car Series. Dodge has been the car of choice since Ganassi took over the running of the operation – a collaboration which has definitely been advantageous.
Just before the NASCAR team merged with Dale Earnhardt Inc. in November 2008, five drivers worked for the team. David Stemme started racing at the age of 15 and he has raced in the Busch Series and the NEXTEL Cup. Reed Sorenson started racing at the age of six and he went on to become a rookie phenomenon. He too was driving in the Busch Series and the NEXTEL Cup. Born in New Zealand, Scott Dixon was the team’s IndyCar driver. He impressed right from the start – winning his IndyCar debut and going on perform well in successive races. Dan Wheldon hails from England and is also an IndyCar driver. He has enjoyed an immensely successful career both in the states and abroad and is likely to continue to impress both his employers and fans. Scott Pruett is usually the man of choice for the Rolex Series. He has competed in a number of different forms of motorsports and proven to be successful at each one. All five drivers of Chip Ganassi Racing will likely continue to prove their worth in years to come.